• LS - Lori Tripoli

    By Lori Tripoli, Academic Department Chair, Legal Studies

    After years on an environmental career path, many seek new job roles but struggle with how to make the right change. Looking back at your first job, you were eager and excited about the possibilities within the organization and the career path you had embarked on. But once you reach capacity to grow, you may find the satisfaction once felt for a company or job role has left.

    You may begin to ask yourself, “What’s next?” Here are three essential tips to help reinvigorate your career, regardless of position, age, or degree.

  • Tip 1: Consider a Move Within Your Organization

    A capacity to continuously learn and grow is essential for a fulfilling career. An employee should consider opportunities to be promoted from his or her current position or to transfer to another department. An employee apt for this change is likely to appreciate his or her current employer. Look to superiors with 5 to 15 more years of experience and decide whether this  organization is still the right fit. 

    Employees should ask themselves: “Is this job a stepping stone to something greater, or am I stuck in a position with minimal chance for greater success? What are the chances an ideal opening will become available and offered to me?” 

    For instance, an employee starting a career at a small environmental consulting firm may soon realize a promotion to a managerial position is unlikely unless a firm founder retires or sells the company. If you find limited opportunities for growth, consider switching to a larger organization. 

    Tip 2: Pursue Employment Outside Your Sector or Specialty

    Within the environmental industry, various roles and responsibilities may be available within both the private and public sectors. An employee may also realize he or she prefers working on sustainability matters for municipal governments rather than private sector wetland preservation issues. A new concentration within the environmental field could bring a great learning experience as well as potential for advancement.   

    Employees should also consider their ideal work environment. If you prefer to spend more time in an office, traveling, or working with stakeholders to reach consensuses on environmental issues, then seek accordingly. Although you may be offered a higher salary, more vacation time and a more desired work location, your day-to-day environment is important for job satisfaction and fulfillment. Many employees are hesitant to make a job role or company transition because of the risk. For those who struggle to advance their career inside an organization or outside their sector, pursuing a higher degree is often the answer. 

    Tip 3: Consider Advancing Your Education

    While considering all your environmental career options, remind yourself to make decisions with long-term career goals in mind, which could include advancing your degree. Whether pursuing an undergraduate degree or a master’s degree part- or full-time, employees in the environmental industry should explore the realm of learning opportunities.




    To learn more about growing career paths related to the environment and for fresh news and trends on environmental policy, visit Kaplan University’s Environmental Policy Center.  

    Lori Tripoli, J.D. oversees the undergraduate and graduate environmental policy and management programs at Kaplan University online. She made her first lateral career move by transferring from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances to its Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, thus switching focus from pesticide registrations to cleanup of contaminated sites.

    Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. 

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